Best electric cars for 2021

Electric cars are becoming increasingly popular with more and more choice available. Here are the best models arriving in 2021

Joe Holding
Mar 2, 2021

Electric cars are rapidly increasing in popularity; in 2020 more than 100,000 of them were registered in the UK, almost triple the number from the year before, despite the overall market shrinking by almost 30% thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.

That stunning uptake looks set to continue in 2021, with numerous manufacturers set to introduce new electric models to their lineups. That gives drivers ever more choice, which is likely to boost sales further.

There are many reasons for the spike in interest in electric cars, but it really boils down to two things. Firstly, people are beginning to understand the benefits of going electric; running costs are ultra-low if you can charge at home, the lack of engine noise is very relaxing and acceleration tends to be very good with instant power and no gears to worry about.

Plus, the lack of tailpipe emissions means you’re not polluting your local environment. The second reason is availability; the more new electric cars manufacturers bring to showrooms, the more people will be persuaded to make the switch from petrol and diesel cars.

If you think you could be one of them, there are some brilliant used models on BuyaCar at bargain prices, so you don't have to worry about paying new car prices - check out what's available right now by clicking on the button above. Meanwhile, if you want to know more about what’s on the horizon, we’ve picked out eight key electric cars to watch out for in 2021.

Best electric cars due in 2021

1. Citroen e-C4

On the road price from £30,395 (after Plug-in car grant (PiCG))
Range up to 217 miles

The Citroen e-C4 is new for 2021 and offered alongside petrol and diesel versions of the same car that don’t carry that ‘e’ moniker. Prices start from £30,395 (a figure that includes the Government’s £3,000 discount for buying a zero-emission vehicle), and it comes with a 50kWh battery that delivers up to 217 miles of range on a full charge. A 137hp electric motor drives the front wheels, with 0-62mph said to take a very respectable 9.7 seconds.

The top speed of 93mph is nothing to shout about, but law-abiding drivers will never go that fast anyway. Charging times vary depending on the device you use to charge, but a 100kW fast charger (the kind you’ll find at many service stations) will give you an 80% top-up in half an hour. If you have a 7kW charging unit installed at home, a full charge should take around seven hours; comfortably quick enough to be fully replenished when plugged in overnight.

MORE DETAILS ON THE NEW CITROEN C4

2. Cupra el-Born

On the road price TBC
Range up to 310 miles

Most of the electric cars brought to market so far have been family vehicles, but it’s easy to forget that electric motors can be immensely powerful. This means we’ll be seeing lots of electric performance cars before long, and the Cupra el-Born is set to become one of the first electric hot hatchbacks.

Based on a concept car that initially wore the badge of Cupra’s parent company Seat, the Cupra el-Born’s performance figures should be very impressive: its electric motor will be mounted at the back to allow rear-wheel drive, offering as much as 204hp and a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds. Cupra also says 0-31mph will take less than three seconds, which will make it a speedy car around town.

Featuring an 82kWh battery, the el-Born should be capable of up to 310 miles of range on paper, although this is likely to fall significantly when driven aggressively. Using a 100kW charger, an 80% charge could take just three-quarters of an hour.

It’s possible that a 62kWh variant with less range will be offered too: that would deliver around 261 miles of range, but with a lighter battery pack it would be faster too.

MORE DETAILS ON THE CUPRA EL-BORN

3. Dacia Spring

On the road price TBC
Range up to 140 miles

The main barrier to buying an electric car at the moment is that, when compared to petrol and diesel alternatives, purchase prices are very high indeed. Which is why it’s exciting that Dacia - known for its cheap-as-you-can-possibly-get vehicles - is due to enter the fray with its electric Spring in 2021.

The company says the Spring will undercut the current cheapest electric car on sale, so it should be priced lower than the £19,800 Seat Mii Electric. Measuring 3,734mm long and 1,622mm wide it’s barely bigger than the Volkswagen Up, putting it firmly in the city car sector even if the bulbous looks have more in common with typical SUVs and crossovers.

The Dacia Spring will get a 44hp electric motor with 125Nm of torque, so it won’t be very fast. However the 26.8kWh battery should return up to 140 miles of range under test conditions, and possibly even more if you stick to the kind of urban environment the car is designed for.

A 7.4kW home charger should top up the battery fully in five hours, but if you’ve only got a normal three-pin plug to use then it could take three times longer than this. The upside is that a full charge should cost no more than £4 on a normal electricity tariff. The Dacia Spring should be practical too, with 300 litres of boot space, which is well above average for this type of car.

4. Mercedes EQA

On the road price from £40,495 (after PiCG)
Range up to 263 miles

The Mercedes EQA is a new electric crossover that will sit alongside the existing EQC SUV in Mercedes’ electric car lineup. The Mercedes EQB compact SUV and EQS saloon are scheduled to join later in 2021, too.

When it goes on sale the EQA will use a 66.5kWh battery offering a range of 302 miles, although it’s worth noting that this figure was achieved using a now defunct testing method, so the real figure will likely be significantly lower. A single electric motor will provide 191hp, with the front-wheel drive car covering 0-62mph in 8.9 seconds.

A more powerful version of the EQA is set to join the entry-level car later on. It will use two electric motors to provide four-wheel drive and generate more than 272hp. 0-62mph should take about five seconds, rivalling some of the fastest hot hatchbacks you can buy today.

A 100kW charger is likely to deliver an 80% top-up in 30 minutes, but if you plug in at home using a dedicated wallbox, expect a full charge to take more than nine hours.

MORE DETAILS ON THE MERCEDES EQA

5. Nissan Ariya

On the road price TBC
Range up to 310 miles

The Nissan Leaf is one of the best-selling electric cars of all time, so the Japanese company’s plans to launch a new electric SUV are certainly worth keeping an eye on. The Nissan Ariya is coming in 2021, with a number of different versions available, designed to help you prioritise range or performance.

The most basic Ariya will produce 218hp and cover 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds, with a 65kWh battery returning 233 miles of range. The next model up comes with a 90kWh battery (upping range to 310 miles) and a more powerful, 242hp electric motor.

The top-of-the-range car will be the Performance variant; it too uses an 87kWh battery, although range falls to 248 miles. Why? An extra motor adds weight, which requires energy to move, but ups power to a mighty 394hp. This version is expected to smash the 0-62mph sprint in just 5.1 seconds.

In total there will be three Ariyas offered with four-wheel drive, referred to as e-4ORCE. Charging times will vary depending on battery size, but more expensive models will unlock higher peak charging rates. Nissan says up to 130kW charging is supported, which equates to around 230 miles of range in just over 30 minutes.

MORE DETAILS ON THE NISSAN ARIYA

6. Skoda Enyaq

On the road price from £31,085 (after PiCG)
Range up to 316 miles

There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the Skoda Enyaq SUV, thanks in part to its bold design and the striking LED-backlit grille that will be standard on high-end models. The Enyaq will be Skoda’s first bespoke electric car, and it will use the same platform that’s set to feature in every electric car due to be built by Volkswagen, Seat and Skoda over the next few years.

When the Enyaq goes on sale, two versions will be offered to begin with; the iV 60 will achieve 260 miles of range with a 62kWh battery, while a 179hp electric motor will provide front-wheel drive and propel it from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds.

Meanwhile, the iV 80 will comprise an 82kWh battery offering 316 miles of range. A larger, 204hp electric motor will sit at the back for rear-wheel drive, and it’ll be 0.2 seconds faster than the iV 60 over the 0-62mph sprint. A four-wheel drive Enyaq (called the 80x) will follow in due course, as will a performance-focused vRS edition.

7. Vauxhall Mokka-e

On the road price from £30,840 (after PiCG)
Range up to 201 miles

The Vauxhall Mokka-e SUV went on sale late in 2020, but the first cars aren’t expected to arrive on UK roads until spring 2021. Much like the Vauxhall Corsa-e supermini, the Mokka-e houses a 50kWh battery with a 136hp electric motor driving the front wheels. As the Mokka-e is larger than the Corsa-e, the quoted range isn’t quite as plentiful at 201 miles, however charging times are identical; Vauxhall says an 80% top-up should take just half an hour when plugged into a 100kW charging station.

Prices start from £30,840, and four trim levels are offered; SE Nav Premium, SRi Nav Premium and Elite Nav Premium, while a top-of-the-range Launch Edition is priced from £34,970. Standard features on the most basic car include a seven-inch touchscreen media system, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and a panoramic rear-view camera, among other things.

Inside, the quality of the interior is noticeably better than that of the previous-generation, non-electric Mokka. The materials feel more upmarket, and the instrument display behind the steering wheel consists of a 12-inch digital screen for a more modern look.

MORE DETAILS ON THE NEW VAUXHALL MOKKA

8. Volkswagen ID.4

On the road price from £40,800 (after PiCG)
Range up to 323 miles

The Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback arrived in 2020 to much acclaim, so it stands to reason that the larger ID.4 SUV should be very good too, especially as it sits on the same platform. When the car arrives in the UK, only a 77kWh battery will be offered, although later in 2021 a 52kWh version is expected to join the line up. These will return 323 miles and 224 miles of range respectively.

On models with the larger battery, power will come from a 204hp electric motor offering rear-wheel drive and a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds. VW has also said a less powerful, 179hp version will be sold too. When the smaller battery edition arrives, you should expect two versions, offering 148hp and 170hp.

It hasn’t been confirmed yet, but VW is expected to offer staggered charging rates, with more expensive models unlocking faster top-up speeds. The entry-level, 52kWh model could be capped at 50kW, which would mean an 80% charge would take around an hour. However, top-spec models could have a ceiling of 125kW, meaning you could add 199 miles of range at a public charging point in the same time frame.

Inside, the ID.4 should feel very spacious, with the clever packaging of the car affording very generous headroom and legroom. The interior will be virtually identical to that of the ID.3, although that’s no bad thing as top-spec models are finished to a very high standard.

 

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